Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Number Plate Retention: What Is It And How Can You Make The Most Of It

No matter how much you love your car, you might need to sell or scrap the vehicle one day. Or there might be a time when you want to buy a personalised number plate but avoid assigning it to your vehicle straight away. At such a time, you might wonder if there is any way for you to get and keep the number plate without adding it to the car or motorcycle. And that’s when you need to start learning more about number plate retention. Our guide will help you to learn what number plate retention is and how you can make the most of it.

Photo by George Sultan on Unsplash

Learn What Number Plate Retention Is

To understand what number plate retention is, you need to understand the most common situations when you might need it. You should retain your number plate when you want to:

  • Sell or scrap your car, keep the plate but don’t want to add it to another vehicle straight away
  • Get a number plate but don’t want to or don’t have a vehicle to assign it to
  • Sell your private number plate

Then you should apply for the V778 retention document, which is issued by the DVLA. You might be able to retain any personalised registration unless it begins with “Q” or “NIQ”. The vehicle you remove the number plate for retention from might be given back the registration number it had in the beginning. To make your application successful, you need to follow the rules and guidelines that have been laid out by the DVLA.

Find Out If You’re Eligible

Before you apply for number plate retention, you should make sure that you’re eligible. To be able to retain the number plate, the vehicle needs to be registered with the DVLA. These vehicles could be:

  • Car
  • Van
  • Moped
  • Motorcycle
  • Motorised Tricycle
  • Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV)

All these vehicles would need either MOT or HGV test. The vehicle should be able to run under its own power. At the same time, it must be taxed or under Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) for five years running. Vehicles that have had a SORN for more than five years need to be taxed before you can even send the application. You should also be prepared for an inspection in case the DVLA requires you to carry out one. If that happens, you can rest assured that they will contact you in advance.

Pass The Registration Number To Someone Else

People who apply for number plate retention often wonder if they can pass the registration number to someone else. The short answer is – yes, you can. There are a few cases when you might want to do that. For example, you could pass it to someone else when you’re selling the registration number. If you don’t know where to start, sell your number plates with Regtransfers, who can help you throughout the process. Alternatively, you could retain the registration number for someone else (a nominee) who’d gain the rights to the registration number when the vehicle gets registered in their name. If you’re interested in doing that, you need to fill in a V317 form and send it over to the DVLA.

How To Start The Process

Once you learn about eligibility and all the rules and conditions you need to follow, you can kick-start the application process for your private plate. But before you start filling in the application form, you need to consider whether you should do it online or send it off by post. However, you need to know that you can send the form by post only if the vehicle doesn’t belong to you. You also need to consider the fee you will need to pay for the retention, which is currently £80 and is subject to change. And finally, you need to have on hand a log book or V5C. With all the considerations on board, you should be ready to fill in the form.

Apply Online

Applying online might be the easiest and most time-effective route you can take to retain your number plates. You can simply head over to the DVLA website and fill in the form. You need to keep in mind that their service is available from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Doing the entire process online might help you to speed it up and get your number plate retained faster. Once your application gets reviewed, the plate could be removed from your vehicle immediately if the DVLA doesn’t require any further inspection. You will also get a reference number. And if you’re looking to reassign the private plate at a later date, it’s important that you have the reference number on hand.

Send Your Application By Post

Another way you can apply for the number plate retention is by post. Naturally, that might take a bit longer. When you’re sending your application by post, you need to add to the envelope all the documents that the DVLA requires. You need to make sure that you fill in the V317 retention form and the V5C. New car owners might also want to enclose the “new keeper” slip and a completed V62 form. And, of course, you need to pay the transfer fee. As this kind of application is slower, it might take up to two weeks from applying for your private number to be removed. In some cases, it might be necessary to send the MOT certificate, V10 tax application and the right amount of money to cover the tax.

Find Out What Happens After Your Application

Now that you’ve filled in the application and got the results, there’s only one question left – what’s going to happen next? When your application gets approved, the DVLA is going to send you a V778 Retention Document. That will allow you to keep the number plate in retention for up to 10 years. However, it’s crucial that you don’t sell or scrap your vehicle until you receive the document. You should also get a replacement V5 registration document with the replacement registration number. When you keep up with all the instructions and do your research in advance, you shouldn’t face any significant problems during the process.

What Happens If You Don’t Reclaim Your Number Plate

Once your number plate retention application gets approved, you have ten years to reclaim it. But you might wonder what happens if you don’t reclaim the private number plate after time passes. Number plate registration numbers that aren’t under retention or in use simply cease to exist. No vehicle will be able to get registered under that number, and the number plate will lose any value.

Research Your Options And Responsibilities In Depth

Applying for number plate retention doesn’t have to be difficult. However, you need to make sure that you do the research and learn about all the rules and guidelines that you need to follow. First, find out whether you’re eligible to apply for number plate retention. Then, find out what kind of forms fit your situation and what you need to do to complete them successfully. Holding on to the guidelines might help you to make the process faster and have your number retained as soon as possible. If you’re looking to use the number plate again in the future, remember that you have ten years to reclaim it. And to do that, you need to hold on to your reference number. Follow all the instructions from the DVLA, and the process should be quite easy.


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